Welcome to January 2023! This month I am titling my teaching letter, “Don’t Give Up!” I want to bring you an encouraging word from the life of Elijah, who at one time definitely wanted to give up. I know that this year has only just started, but the word I’m going to share with you is so encouraging because it shows us that God has much more for us than we think He does.
In First Kings chapter 18, Elijah had an experience with the power of God in such great measure that it would have been absolutely overwhelming and exhausting to Elijah’s physical body — preparing and then calling down fire on his burnt offering, thrusting a sword through 450 false prophets, praying for a three-and-a-half-year drought to stop and for rain to come, and outrunning a chariot. Although he was anointed by God to do all these things, it’s difficult to even imagine the physical exhaustion that Elijah was likely experiencing at that time. And, on top of that, he then received a death threat from Jezebel that said by the next day, he would be dead just like the false prophets that he had killed (see 1 Kings 19:2). Suddenly, we find Elijah, this great man of God, exhausted, running for his life, sitting under a tree, and praying to God that he would die.
So why would my January teaching letter be on the subject of not giving up? Because you may be facing problems, trials, sickness, difficult relationships, or disappointments right now, and with that kind of pressure can come a temptation to quit.
Exactly what happened to Elijah? He became so exhausted, so discouraged, and so afraid that he wanted to quit. So what can we learn from him? Even though Elijah wanted to run and quit and die, God’s instructions, God’s Word, and God’s ways for him remained the same. God’s plans for Elijah were so much greater than Elijah was thinking.
Elijah wanted God to kill him. But not only did God not kill him, Elijah was used by God to anoint two more kings and to anoint Elisha as the prophet to replace him. After that, he was caught up — alive — in a chariot of fire with horses of fire. So not only did God not kill Elijah — Elijah never died!
You may be wondering why I am saying all this. I’m telling you this because with our limited thinking and with our own summation of things, we can be tempted to put a limit on our limitless God. We might take a look at our circumstances, think they are so bad, and then decide for ourselves how God should intervene. Or perhaps we do not believe that God can do anything about our situation, so we decide we need to take it into our own hands to try to remedy.
Some of us are tempted to quit or even run away from the situation we’re facing because of fear. But God is not calling us to quit or run away from a difficult assignment or circumstance. He is calling us to the exact place that He called Elijah — a place where we can stand in His presence and listen to what He is saying to us.
Have you ever been tempted to run away or quit because you could not see past the problem before you and thought that it must be a dead end? Elijah was tempted. Elijah thought his life was over. But God‘s compassion came, and He saved him. Elijah even ran away (see 1 Kings 19:3), but God met Elijah right where he was and spoke to him exactly what he needed to hear.
And that was in the Old Testament! The Spirit of God was upon Elijah, but did not live inside Elijah — but the power of God, the resurrection power of God, is inside us. Even if we are afraid or don’t understand the situation we find ourselves in, if we will acknowledge the power within us and say yes to the Lord, He will lead us to the next step — just like he did with Elijah. God wants to show us so much more than anything we can imagine.
Friend, maybe you’re discouraged right now and tempted to give up. Don’t give up! Don’t run from the assignment that He’s given you or the situation you are in. He has so much more waiting for you on the other side of your faith. Yes, your problem is a real place, but a miracle is also a real place. And the space in between the problem and the miracle is a real place — it’s the place of faith. Don’t give up in this place. When Elijah was ready to give up, he could not have imagined that not only was God not going to kill him, but that he would not even experience physical death. His miracle came after he stood before God and listened in faith.
What about the woman with the issue of blood (see Mark 5:25-34)? She could have just given up and said, “I’ve had this disease for 12 years, and I have already spent all my money and I have not gotten any better but only worse. I’m going to give up. Everyone will understand if I just give up and die.” No, she didn’t give up. She heard about Jesus and believed if she could just touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed. It was her place of faith — and her place of faith was as real as her sickness. In fact, it was more real!
We don’t know how many times she told herself, Yes! If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed. We don’t know how difficult it was for her to leave her house as an unclean person who could have been stoned to death for doing so, especially after crawling through that crowd to get to Jesus. But it was her place of faith that led to her miracle.
That may be where you are right now. Do you believe in the miracle-working power of God? He is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be forever, and He will meet you in your place of faith.
Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing that God is your answer. Don’t run from this place of faith. He has so much more waiting for you on the other side of your faith.
I would like to pray for you. Father, You know my friend intimately — every question, every problem, and every heartache. And you see how this person is pushing through to believe you and to not quit. Father, thank You for the power of the Holy Spirit that is inside my friend. And He is absolutely the Greater One on the inside — greater than any pressure that’s in this world. Father, You promised you would never leave nor forsake this person. And together with my friend, we say, “Help us, Holy Spirit, to continue to believe and to continue to push through all the obstacles that surround us.” I thank You for Your strengthening and emboldening power that belongs to this person through the power of the Holy Spirit — resurrection power — that’s living inside of my friend. I pray this in the all-powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank you for spending this time with me, and if you need prayer, please let us know how we can pray for you. You can call us at 1.800.742.5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many have left comments or reached out to ask for prayer, and I appreciate every response so very much.
I’d also like to invite you to join me on my program, TIME With Denise Renner, Mondays at 7:00 a.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook! You can also find me Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruthTV. We always have such an encouraging time in the Word, and I want you to be encouraged too! Friend, we are together in this race — this fight of faith. And the Bible calls it a good fight. Let’s keep moving forward in this new year ahead of us.
Moving forward together,